A woman rides a water buffalo a green field. Behind her is a hill. The sky is very light blue, almost white, with fluffy clouds.

Caroline Garcia’s Dancing on Axes and Spears

Caroline Garcia’s Dancing on Axes and Spears

January 31 – April 21, 2023
George Segal Gallery

Caroline Garcia’s Dancing on Axes and Spears invites visitors to stretch their understandings of Filipino cultural traditions, community resilience, and personal identity in the artist’s first solo museum exhibition featuring an interactive martial arts gym, virtual and augmented reality artworks, and various forms of choreography. 

Garcia’s works explore her Filipino identity, assimilation and cultural memory, and Indigeneity through diasporic and feminist perspectives. Employing video, performance, sculpture, and installation, Garcia addresses a central theme of  “alterity” – an anthropological term meaning “otherness” to mark her position in the diaspora where distance, language barriers, and colonization fracture traditional knowledge. 

The works are emblematic of the ways Garcia resists assimilation tactics within colonized land through unique survival strategies informed by elements of Indigenous Filipino culture and traditions including martial arts and spirituality, technology, and community collaborations. Garcia’s exhibition at Montclair State University Galleries builds upon these themes and their relationships to larger systems including immigration, self-hood, and safety. 

Curated by Jesse Bandler Firestone, Curator and Exhibition Coordinator

Exhibition Resources


Opening Reception and Live Performance

  • Thursday, February 2, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Caroline Garcia’s Dancing on Axes and Spears with a live performance of Pay Salutations by members of the Kali Chrysalis Collective, choreography inspired by martial arts. Remarks by Director Megan C. Austin, Curator Jesse Bandler Firestone, and artist Caroline Garcia.
  • Register on Eventbrite
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About the Artist

Caroline is a culturally promiscuous, interdisciplinary artist. She works across performance, moving image, and installation through a hybridized aesthetic of cross-cultural movement, embodied research, and new media. Her practice traverses a highly personalized aggregation of distinct systems that intermix digital technologies (such as green screening, robotics, motion capture, extended realities (AR/VR), and 3D practices) with ethnotraditional forms of knowledge (including dance, botany, poetry, and ceramics). Her aesthetic approach is often humorous and playful, and at times irreverent.

Caroline is a 2021 New York Artadia Awardee and a commissioned artist for Open Call at The Shed and The Sydney Opera House’s digital exhibition, Returning. Her most notable projects include Flygirl, developed in residence at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in 2016/17, and performances at the Manila Biennale, Art Central Hong Kong, and The Vera List Center for Art and Politics NYC; all in 2018. Caroline was one of the eight artists selected nation-wide for ‘Primavera: Young Australian Artists’ in 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and was the 2018/19 recipient of the American Australian Association’s AUSART Fellowship Award. Caroline has presented work at Lincoln Center, New York Live Arts, Spring/Break Art Fair, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, Smack Mellon, Creative Time Summit X, A.I.R. Biennale, and Hesse Flatow; all NYC. She was in residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA in 2019, awarded the Edwards Charitable Giving Trust Residency at ISCP, NY in 2020, a Tech Resident at Pioneer Works, as well as an Experimental Projects resident at the Institute for Electronic Arts in 2021. She is a CultureHub Resident, Wave Hill Winter Workspace artist, Franklin Furnace Fund Awardee, and a Recess Session artist for 2021-22. Caroline is an MFA in Fine Arts graduate from Parsons The New School of Art, Media, and Technology.